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Ava has opinions.  Not like mild opinions about preferring one thing over another.  More like objections that will break your eardrums if you go against her desires.  Take her socks, for example,  She wore the same mismatched socks for three days because she would lose her mind if you tried to take them off.  I only succeeded in breaking the sock streak by switching her socks while she was sleeping.


One thing I don’t understand is that for the past month Ava has been pulling off a sock, crying until you put the sock back on and saying “sooock,” and continuing to pull the sock back off.  What is that?!


Ava is becoming a little hoarder because she wants to keep all her toys with her at one time and she will similarly freak out if any of them fall from her grasp.  She got a bath this morning and she was trying to hold four different toys while I dried her off.


Sour Cream

I forgot to mention this in Ava’s 18 month post, but Ava is obsessed with sour cream.  It’s such an intense obsession that we cannot have a container of sour cream on the table during dinner if we want Ava to eat anything except sour cream.



There are some advantages to Ava’s love of sour cream, though.  She ate a decent amount of borscht because I smuggled it in the sour cream.

Ava is getting better at eating a greater variety of food.  She doesn’t love exotic food, but she will try stuff.  Her favorite foods right now are pasta with butter, cheese, blueberries, and Marmite on crackers.


I am a chef!  I couple of weeks ago Jon asked for a pea and potato curry galette.  Since I couldn’t find a recipe, I made my own.  It looks pretty good!  The dough recipe is from Smitten Kitchen but the filling is all mine.



For the dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chill again
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling
  • 1.5 cups peeled and sliced potatoes
  • 1 cup English peas
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt to taste (maybe 3/4 tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (enough to add a little kick, but not make it spicy)
  • 3 tsp cornstarch
For the top of the crust
  • 1 egg yolk whipped with 1 tsp water

Make dough: Whisk stir the flour and salt in a large bowl. Sprinkle bits of butter over dough and using a pastry blender or your fingertips, work it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with the biggest pieces of butter the size of tiny peas. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, and water and add this to the butter-flour mixture. With your fingertips or a wooden spoon, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Pat the lumps into a ball. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.

Make filling: Add all ingredients except the peas and the cornstarch.  Cook until the potatoes are firm, but piercable with a fork.  Add the cornstarch to thicken.  Add the peas and cook for two minutes.

Assemble galette: Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured counter, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round and it really doesn’t need to be perfectly shaped. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the filling into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border. If any liquid has puddle in plate, try to leave it there as you spoon. Fold the border over the filling, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open. Brush crust with egg yolk glaze. Sprinkle glaze with last pinches of parmesan.

Bake the galette: For 30 to 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.


Ava is 18 Months Old

My baby is a year and a half old!  She’s no longer a little blob.  She has opinions, we interact, she acts out scenes with her toy animals.  I had no idea that a 1.5 year old could do all these things.

Independence/Motor Skills

Ava likes to run everywhere.  She wobbles a little as she’s running and she sometimes falls, but she likes to go fast and she knows where she wants to go.  In the past month Ava has started breaking into dance so Jon bought her tap shoes.  Ava loves them.


Foods and Liquids

In the past few weeks I’ve been giving Ava her own bowl with food instead of trying to spoon feed her part of it.  She tends to eat more when she has her own autonomy.  I start off dinner by giving Ava a portion of our dinner.  If she refuses it then I pivot to her standard food.  Ava will request cheese now, just like Teddy!



Sleep is the same.  Sometimes Ava goes down easier, sometimes it takes three hours, and she always winds up in my bed.


Language Skills

Ava knows a lot of words and she understands many more words that she doesn’t say.  This list is probably more interesting to me than anyone else reading it, but bear with me because I want to record the words.

Words Ava says: hi, mama, dada, tree, grass, sky, moon, dog, woof woof, Teddy, neigh, baa (for a sheep), aaa (for a goat), meow (for a cat), kitty, duck, bird (she used to say it clearly, but lately she’s been saying dee as in birdy), owl, hoo hoo (for owl), snort (for pigs), rawr (fot dinosaurs, tigers, and bears), tsntsntsn (for a rabbit), cocka (as in “cock-a-doole-doo for a rooster”), blub blub (for a fish), yi-yi-yi (for a zebra), sock, shoes, boots, cheese, teeth, eyes, please (peas?), thank you (tank ooo), boom (for a firecracker), achoo (for a sneeze), waaa (for the noise a baby makes), shh (for the noise a daddy makes, complete with putting her finger on her lips), blue, go go, out

Words Ava understands: bye, park, grapes, pants, shirt, hair, nose, mouth, tongue, knee, brain, leg, yes, no, more, where’s your [ ], what does the [ ] say, store, do you want to go [upstairs/downstairs/to the store], kiss


Ava is understanding a lot of words these days.

  • On Saturday I told her that we were going to go to the grocery store and she shook her head vigorously.  I suggested we play outside for a little while.  She played and then she walked to my car because she was ready to go to the store.


  • At night I read books to Ava.  I will offer her different books to read and she’ll shake her head until you show her a book she wants you to read.
  • Jon was showing Ava shoes on his computer so she could pick out a color of shoes for him to buy.  Now each morning she brings Jon his closed laptop and says “shoes” because she wants to look at them again.


Ava also has an amazing imagination.

  • She draws a lot and it’s only scribbles, but Ava knows what she’s drawing.  Her nanny mentioned that she kept saying “duck” when drawing and if you ask her where the eye is, she’ll point to it.




Halloween was fun this year.  We went to a party in the neighborhood and I loved it because this year I knew 50% of the guests.  We went with the family theme of Star Wars.  Jon was a Jedi.


I went as Princess Leia, but there wasn’t a good opportunity to get a picture of my costume.  Ava was supposed to be Yoda, but she wouldn’t put on the Yoda hat.  I couldn’t even get her to keep the robe on.  This is my one picture of her because I didn’t want to prolong the torture.


On Halloween we sat on our porch and handed out candy.  At one point Ava snuck off the porch and tried to join a group of trick-or-treaters.  She didn’t get any candy, so it wasn’t about sugar, but I think she was excited by the costumes and all the activity.

Ava Tidbits

I got Ava to eat soba noodles!  I think she tried it because they look like pasta noodles, but I’m excited about any way that I can get her to eat a variety of foods.  It had bok choy and mushrooms in it, so maybe she absorbed some of the nutrients.  She’s getting so good at feeding herself.


Both Jon and I buy things for Ava, but we buy different things.  Jon buys toys he thinks Ava would like and any toys she takes an interest in.  I buy clothing for her, like the super cute striped shirt and matching feather pants.  We both buy books.


Ava is starting to learn the words in her books.  We get this fantastic book from the library called “The Noisy Book.”  Ava knows the first 15 pages in the book (it’s a big book).  My favorites are “The firecracker goes boom!” because Ava says “boooom!” and “The cold goes achoo!” because Ava says “achoo” with a high pitch on the “choo” part.  Plus, it is ever relevant in our sick household.


Ava is at that stage where she learns things and I don’t know the source.  She started crawling into beds and pretending to sleep.  She makes the sound of a person pretending to sleep (kind of like this).


Ava has developed an obsession with stuffed animals.  She had very strict rules about what you can do with them.  For example, she has a dolly and it has to remain pantsless.  If you try to put pants on the dolly Ava will hysterically cry.


I’m running out of body parts to teach Ava.  She now knows eyes, nose, mouth, tongue, hair, brain (??? – I don’t know how or why), knee, feet, and elbow.

Tomatoes are the best vegetable to have in surplus.

(1) Stuffed Tomatoes

There are so many variations of this.  You can stuff tomatoes with rice or cheese.  Rice was easier to work with.  When I cooked the tomatoes with cheese, several of the tomatoes disintegrated and leaked cheese on the pan.  The top can be cooked until golden or covered with breadcrumbs.

tomatoes stuffed with ricotta cheese and fried okra



(2) Tomato Galette

A galette is a pastry that you can make savory or sweet.  The dough is pie dough with some yogurt and lemon juice to soften the texture.  The picture below is a tomato, corn, and zucchini galette.  It used up three cups of cherry tomatoes, an ear of corn, and a nice amount of zucchini and summer squash.


(3) Tomato, Cucumbers, and Yogurt

This is a great summer recipe because it uses both tomatoes and cucumbers!  Also, because there are many different countries that feature a similar dish it serves as a fantastic side dish for a variety of meals.  Greek food, Indian food, they all have it.  Below I paired it with a lentil, rice, and onion dish (Whole Foods recipe).


(4) Gazpacho

It was a touch choice between tomato soup and gazpacho, but the gazpacho had such complicated flavors and it used several things from my garden.  We currently have a glut of jalapeños.  I used 15 this weekend to make jalapeño poppers, but that only used about 25% of our supply.


(5) Salsa

It’s not sexy, but salsa goes with everything.  We’ve eaten a lot of quesadillas and scrambled eggs with salsa.  It’s also a nice use of garden jalapeños.

Ava’s Room

Now that Ava has her own room, I want to decorate it for her.  Here’s what it looks like right now:







It’s currently a bird-themed room but only because of Ava’s preferences.  Ava discovered these customized crochet stuffed cockatiels that I commissioned years ago of Audrey and Conner.  So those are now her toys.  There’s also a parrot that used to be in my grandmother’s house.  Lastly, Ava loves the cross-stitch of Audrey.


For a new theme, I started looking through Pinterest.  People create some really impractical rooms for their kids!  The first three pictures in this link are ridiculous.  I can’t imagine a kid feeling comfortable in those rooms.  But #11 is wonderful.  I think Ava would like a space theme.  She loves planes, the’s started pointing out the moon, I think she would love it.

I found a glow-in-the dark solar system that I like.  The picture above has bedding from Land of Nod that is very cute.  Does anyone have recommendations?  I’m open to any suggestions.

This month is the month of language development.  Ava is starting to understand concepts and learn vocabulary.

Independence/Motor Skills


Now that Ava can walk, she does what she wants.  She holds Teddy’s leash and walks him to the park.  The other day she walked about half a mile down the street, around the corner, and into the ice cream shop.

She seems to be developing an awareness about when she’s done with things too.  About 50% of the time at the park she shows us that she wants to leave by grabbing Teddy’s leash and walking home.  Her nanny said when they’re at the park during the day sometimes she gets into the stroller when she’s done.  The other night Ava picked up her horse and walked into the bedroom ready to begin her nighttime routine.  I love this new change because it’s so much better than the alternative where we know she’s ready for bed because she cries.


Ava loves puddles.  Last Saturday it rained and we were trying to get Ava to go one direction up our street when she wanted to go the opposite direction.  We tried saying goodbye to her so she would think we were leaving her and start following us.  Instead, she waved  and said “goodbye” like she was fine with us leaving.  Hah!  She’s so funny.  Inside the house she has to be at my side at all times, often with me holding her.  Outside, I could totally leave her, no problem.


When I put her down for bed, she likes to lift up my shirt and blow raspberries on my skin.  At first I tried to stifle my laughter so it didn’t get her riled up during bedtime, but I can’t resist.  It’s too much fun!

Foods and Liquids

Ava took these potatoes from my potato drawer so she could “help” cook.


Ava is in a funny grazing stage.  She doesn’t necessarily eat much during our mealtimes, but she loves to graze.  Ava requests cherry tomatoes anytime we’re in the backyard.  When I pick out items in preparation for dinner she demands a tax.  The other day she munched on an Anaheim pepper.  She loves eating grapes off the vine.

Ava’s upper molars just poked through so now that she has bottom and top molars I’m hoping she will be able to eat more than tomatoes and carbs.  Right now her favorite foods are pizza, quesadillas, and grilled cheese.


Our neighbor gave us a squash that’s longer than Ava is tall!  She wanted to hold it.



We just switched the bedroom and the attached nursery with the living room and the office.  Now the living room and office are downstairs and there are two separate bedrooms updates.  We also converted the crib to a toddler bed since Ava can climb out of her crib.  The hope is that she’ll want to sleep in her own room and that she won’t hate the bed because it doesn’t have the same bad association that the crib had from all our sleep battles.  We’ll see.  Last night I put her in the toddler bed, but she woke up after 40 minutes and wouldn’t fall asleep until she was in our bed.


Language Skills

Ava has had a language and comprehension explosion this month.  First she started pointing at people’s eyes and saying “eye.”  Since she often pushed her finger into your eye, right after sticking her finger up her nose, I started telling her about her nose.  Now she can point to her eyes, nose, and mouth.  She can’t say nose, but she definitely says “mouth.”

Her nanny has heard her say “tree” and “car” while pointing to the corresponding object.  I’ve seen her point at airplanes and say “plane.”

We go through a running list each night of the noises animals make.  The list includes noises for the dog, cow, horse, bird, goat, sheep, duck, owl, and she probably knows a ton more from her nanny and I just haven’t asked the right question.

She’s really intense about the television, which is funny because she used to cry anytime it was on.




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